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Naira Appreciates to N386/$1 at I&E Market



i&e window

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira appreciated by 50 kobo or 0.13 percent at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange (forex) market on Tuesday, June 16 as the domestic currency was sold for N386/$1 in contrast to N386.50/$1 it was sold previously.

This happened amid a slight increase in the demand for forex at the segment. According to the FMDQ Securities Exchange, transactions valued at $15.31 million were carried out at the investors’ window yesterday in contrast to $14.27 million exchanged at the previous session, indicating a rise by 7.3 percent or $1.04 million.

However, at the parallel market, the Naira dropped N2 against the Dollar to sell at at N452/$1 at the close of business compared to N450/$1 it sold previously.

Likewise, against the pound, the Naira fell by N3 to close at N553/£1 compared with N550/£1 of the previous day and lost N5 on the Euro to close at N490/€1 as against N485/€1 on Monday.

At the Bureaux De Change (BDC) segment of the market yesterday, data from the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) showed that the Nigerian currency shed 50 kobo against the American currency in Lagos to sell at N450/$1 versus N449.50/$1 it previously sold.

However, against the Pound and the Euro, the Naira closed flat at N548/£1 and N490/€1 respectively.

At the Abuja BDCs market, the Naira also lost 50 kobo against the dollar to settle at N448.50/$1 compared to N448/$1 of the preceding session, while against the Pound Sterling, it lost N8 to close at N558/£1 versus N550/£1 and remained unchanged against the Euro at N482/€1.

At the Port Harcourt BDC market, the Naira closed flat for the day against the Dollar at N448/$1. It, however, gained N6 on the Pound to close at N546/£1 versus N550/£1, and retained the previous day’s rate against Euro to close at N490/€1.

In Kano, the local currency gained N1 on the Dollar to sell for N447/$1 in contrast to N448/$1 it sold on Monday and gained N10 on the Pound to sell for N540/£1 compared to N550/£1, but lost N8 against the Euro to sell at N490/€1 as against the previous rate of N482/€1.

At the interbank window of the forex market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sold the greenback to commercial banks at N361/$1 on Tuesday.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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NASD Investors Lose N7.37bn to Profit-Taking



NASD Afriland Investors Call

By Adedapo Adesanya

The market environment at the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange was further weakened last week as a result of the 0.49 per cent decline recorded at the eighth trading week of 2021.

In the week, NASD investors lost N7.37 billion to reduce the market capitalisation of the exchange to N512.24 billion from N514.76 billion it finished in the seventh trading week.

In the same vein, the NASD Security Index (NSI) decreased by 3.52 points to settle at 713.91 points as against 717.43 points it ended a week earlier.

Business Post reports that the dominance of the bears at the unlisted securities market was caused by the negative movement in the prices of stocks on the bourse.

Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc suffered a 2.98 per cent loss to close at N292.82 per unit in contrast to N301.84 per unit it traded the preceding week.

Also, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc went down by 2.82 per cent to trade at N119.43 per share versus the previous N122.90 per share.

However, there was a price gainer during the week, though it was not enough to sway the market to the bulls. Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc appreciated by 3.1 per cent to quote at N16.50 per unit compared with the previous rate of N16 per unit.

During the week, there was a 62.4 per cent decrease in the total value of shares traded by investors; N31.6 million compared to N84.2 million of the previous week.

There was equally a decline in the total volume of securities traded by investors by 85.4 per cent as 370,270 units exchange hangs as against 2,535,707 units in the previous week.

Also, the total number of deals decreased by 39.5 per cent as the bourse published 26 deals compared to 43 deals on record at the preceding week.

According to data from the NASD, CSCS Plc ranked top among the five most traded securities by volume with 158,000 units. Nipco Plc traded 83,332 units, FrieeslandCampina transacted 82,585 units, NDEP Plc exchanged 46,348 units, while Mixta Real Estate Plc traded 5 units.

In terms of the top traded securities by value, NDEP Plc led the chart with N13.6 million. FrieslandCampina traded N9.9 million, Nipco Plc transacted N5.7 million, CSCS Plc exchanged N2.5 million, while Mixta Real Estate Plc sold N9.90.

A look at the activity chart on a year-to-date basis showed that investors have traded 24,201,001 stocks worth N602.1 million in 240 deals. Also, the unlisted securities market has lost 3.7 per cent in the year.

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SEC Tasks CBN, Others on Understanding Crypto Space for Proper Guidance



Nigerian Crypto Traders

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The need for regulators in the financial industry in the country, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to understand the crypto asset space for proper regulations has been stressed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the Director-General of the SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, if the regulators can do this, they would be better positioned to address identified risks.

Recently, the CBN ordered banks in the country to close down all accounts of individuals and companies trading cryptocurrencies.

This sparked reactions from many quarters, including the National Assembly. The Senate had to summon the Governor of the apex bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to explain the reason for his action.

While appearing before the joint session of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Capital Market and ICT and Cyber Crime in Abuja last Tuesday, Mr Emefiele noted that the action was taken to protect Nigerians as trading in crypto was risky.

But the DG of SEC crypto-assets can be regulated for the benefits of the citizens, noting that his agency was committed to enhancing financial inclusion in the country through technology.

According to him, SEC recognises the disruption of fintech in the financial industry and aims to create an enabling regulatory environment that would ensure a balance between investor protection and technological advancement.

“We believe that fintech would not only bring about efficiency to the capital market but would also serve as a veritable tool for advancing Nigeria’s financial inclusion agenda.

“However, there is a need to develop an appropriate regulatory framework to ensure the safety of innovation to investors and preserve market integrity,” he submitted.

He said the SEC will advance efforts towards developing a comprehensive regulatory framework that ensures that operators in the crypto asset space conduct their activities in a manner that protects investors and maintains financial system stability.

“The SEC will continue to monitor developments in the digital asset space and further engage/collaborate with all critical stakeholders, including the CBN, to create a regulatory structure that enhances economic development while promoting a safe, innovative and transparent capital market,” he added.

According to Mr Yuguda, the SEC’s approach is consistent with the approaches of several securities regulators around the world as in the United States of America, the US SEC requires platforms that offer trading in digital asset securities and operate as exchanges to register or seek to be exempted from registration.

“In the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires firms that carry on specified activities, by way of business, involving a crypto asset, to be authorised. Crypto assets are viewed as financial products in South Africa and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) requires persons carrying out associated activities to be regulated.

“In Malaysia, operators of digital asset platforms are required to be approved by the Securities Commission (SC) as recognized market operators. Several other securities regulators have taken similar positions,” he informed the lawmakers.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Mr Uba Sani, said the team was on a fact-finding mission in the interest of Nigerians and the nation’s economy.

“We shall look at the position of the CBN who have said cryptocurrencies are very volatile and support insurgency. The Senate will always support innovation and the effective use of ICT for economic empowerment.

“We are aware of the damage it has done and we are poised to protecting our economy and ensure that our people benefit where necessary,” he said.

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Shell to Assist Nigeria Boost Gas Usage to 5bcf/d



Gas Flaring

By Adedapo Adesanya

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has restated its commitment to help grow gas usage in Nigeria to 5 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcf/d) from its current 1.7 bcf/d by 2022.

This was disclosed by Mr Osagie Okunbor, the Managing SPDC Director and Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria, while speaking at the Nigerian Gas Association’s 12th International Conference and Awards, held virtually under the theme Powering Forward: Enabling Nigeria’s Industrialization via Gas.

Mr Okunbor pledged support to the federal government’s goal of using the country’s proven gas reserves to trigger economic activities for gas-based industrialisation.

He said the multinational’s support is shown in the company’s multi-billion dollars investment in four of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) aptly named Seven Critical Gas Development Projects.

According to him, Shell has invested in the Assa North gas project; four unitised gas fields; Brass Fertilizer Company; and the cluster development of Okpokunou/Tuomo West (OML 35/62) to support the government’s drive for national development.

He said, “I am very happy that NNPC and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) have taken key roles in these projects. These are positive steps.”

He commended the government’s recent progress in gas development and stated support for NNPC’s aspiration to grow domestic gas usage in Nigeria to 5 billion cubic feet of gas per day from its current 1.7 billion cubic feet of gas per day by 2022.

Mr Okunbor said, “Nigeria has launched out on a few audacious and, frankly, great projects to essentially drive our ambition as a country in this regard. Let’s find a way to make sure that we stay the course and begin to put our efforts in a consistent manner towards downstream where our country can get an ultimate benefit for gas.”

He counselled for robust engagement in discussions for an agreeable price framework in order to attract investments in the country’s rich gas sector.

“A robust pricing framework would be very helpful to unlock Nigeria’s proven gas reserves, especially for Power, Agriculture and Industrial sectors,” he added.

Mr Okunbor said the current pricing regime does not quite fit the wider framework of what the gas industry does.

“We want to incentivise methanol and fertilizer production, which is extremely important, to gear up our agricultural sector but the price regime now in that sector is lower than the kind of prices that you have for supply to the power sector and industrial establishments.

“To make domestic gas work, we do need the right price regime. It might just mean that some sectors are supported more than others that can naturally carry themselves, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) provides that framework.” Mr Okunbor further said.

He urged policymakers to strike a careful balance between trying to raise funds – in terms of the kind of taxes and royalties that are put on gas – and understanding that this is actually much more of a resource that drives national development.

“Gas is by far more important as a catalyst for development,” he added.

Nigeria has over 200 trillion cubic feet of gas proven and is the world’s 9th largest proven gas reserves.

Mr Okunbor added that the country can satisfy both domestic and export markets of gas if the right policies and processes are put in place and the country continues to drive those policies, processes and gas infrastructure.

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NNPC Rules Out Hike in Petrol Pump Price in March



petrol pump price

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Nigerians have been assured that the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly called petrol, will not be increased this month.

This assurance was given by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) via a statement signed by its Group General Manager in charge of the Group Public Affairs Division, Mr Kennie Obateru.

In the statement issued on Sunday, Mr Obateru appealed to motorists and consumers of the commodity not to panic buy or hoard the product.

There had been reports that oil marketers will increase the price of the fuel at their retail stations on the back of the recent rise in the price of crude oil in the global market.

When the downstream petroleum sector was to be partially deregulated by the federal government last year, citizens were told that prices of petrol would be determined by the international price of black gold.

As of then, the Brent crude, which Nigeria’s oil is priced, was sold around $40 per barrel, but last week, it traded at $67 per barrel, fuelling speculations that the retail price of petrol may likely go for N180.

Last week, most NNPC retail stations in Lagos, according to findings by Business Post, were selling the product at N162 per litre. A few filling stations reportedly sold for N180 per litre at the weekend in Lagos.

But NNPC, in the statement, has ruled out any increment in the ex-depot price of petrol in March 2021 because it does not want to “jeopardize ongoing engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship.”

As a result, the state-owned oil agency has warned “petroleum products marketers not to engage in an arbitrary price increase or hoarding of petrol in order not to create artificial scarcity and unnecessary hardship for Nigerians.”

According to the NNPC, it has “enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for over 40 days and urged motorists to avoid panic buying.”

The corporation also called on relevant regulatory authorities to “step up monitoring of the activities of marketers with a view to sanctioning those involved in products hoarding or arbitrary increase of pump price.”

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MTN Nigeria Makes N205bn Profit, to Pay Investors N5.90 Dividend



MTN Nigeria AGM

By Dipo Olowookere

Africa’s leading telecommunication company, MTN Nigeria Plc, had a good year in 2020 despite the disruption caused to businesses across the globe.

In the year, according to the financial statements of the firm released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and analysed by Business Post, the sum of N1.4 trillion was generated in the year, higher than the N1.2 trillion achieved in 2019.

A significant part of the revenue was contributed by voice revenue, N766.4 billion versus N725.5 billion, while data revenue contributed N332.4 billion in contrast to N219.4 billion in 2019.

However, the direct network operating costs increased to N310.3 billion from N246.6 billion as a result of a rise in BTS leases to N225.6 billion from N170.1 billion, a jump in the regulatory fees to N34.8 billion from N30.3 billion and a rise in the network maintenance to N48.6 billion from N45.2 billion.

In the period under review, the telco reduced its roaming costs to N3.0 billion from N4.0 billion. It also cut is advertisements, sponsorships and sales promotions to N15.1 billion from N19.9 billion, while the other operating expenses moved higher to N66.6 billion from N51.0 billion due to the N2.0 billion expended on COVID-19, including the N1 billion donation to the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) in April 2020 and costs of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

As of December 31, 2020, MTN Nigeria was left with an operating profit of N426.7 billion, higher than N393.2 billion a year earlier.

With a finance income of N15.9 billion versus N20.1 billion and N143.7 billion finance costs in contrast to N122.1 billion a year earlier, the GSM network provider was left with a profit before tax of N298.9 billion compared with N291.3 billion in 2019, while the profit after tax stood at N205.2 billion, slightly higher than N203.3 billion as at December 31, 2019, with the earnings per share closing at N10.08 as against N9.99 in 2019.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of MTN Nigeria has recommended the payment of a final dividend of N5.90 per ordinary share of 2 kobo each subject to shareholders’ approval at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM).

If the proposed final dividend is approved, the total dividend for the financial year ended December 31, 2020, will be N9.40 per share of 2 kobo each.

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CBN, NAICOM to Determine Dividend, Bonus Shares for FCMB, AIICO Shareholders



FCMB Shareholders AGM

By Dipo Olowookere

It is almost certain that shareholders of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and AIICO Insurance will get cash reward and bonus shares from the respective company this year for the 2020 financial year.

However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) will have to first authorise this.

Already, the boards of FCMB and AIICO Insurance have done their parts by recommending the payment of the dividend and issuance of bonus shares, but their respective regulator will have to check their performance to see if what is being recommended is reasonable.

Last Friday, the board of FCMB held a meeting to look into the audited results of the group and after being satisfied, the payment of the dividend was recommended.

“At the board of directors meeting of FCMB group Plc held on Friday, February 26, 2021, the board approved the group’s audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020, as well as payment of dividend, subject to the approval of the CBN.

“The board also considered and approved the appointment of an independent non-executive director, subject to the CBN approval.

“The retirement of Mr Peter Obaseki from the board of the company effective March 1, 2021, was also accepted by the board.

“Details of the results and the dividend payments, as well as related corporate actions, shall be made to the exchange upon obtaining approval of the CBN,” a notice signed by the company’s scribe, Mrs Olufunmilayo Adedibu, said.

On its part, AIICO Insurance said its board met on Thursday, February 25, 2021, to look into the results and the issuance of bonus stocks was recommended.

“We refer to our February 8, 2021, announcement wherein we informed the investing public and the NSE of the board meeting scheduled for February 25, 2021.

“We are pleased to inform the investing public and the exchange that the board of directors of AIICO Insurance Plc met as announced and considered and approved the group’s audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020, and bonus issue subject to the approval of NAICOM and the company’s shareholders.

“The company will release the audited results to the investing public upon the approval of NAICOM.

“In view of the above, all directors, persons discharging managerial responsibility, adviser(s) of the company, or their connected persons are reminded that as announced on February 8, 2021, the closed period declared by the company is still on until 24 hours after the accounts are filed with the exchange,” its disclosure said.

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